In the U.S., we celebrate Independence Day with fireworks, cookouts, and those quiet moments when we remember what the day is there to mark: the ideals of liberty that drove our founding as a nation.
July 4th is the quintessential summer holiday and many are looking forward to finding a comfortable spot to watch a fireworks show and reunite with friends and family. While we celebrate the independence of the United States, you can also declare your independence from a common problem...snoring.
Snoring, A Big Problem for Millions of Americans
Declaring your independence from snoring means having a sleep routine that you control, rather than being controlled by your sleep issues.
About half of us will snore at some point during our lifetimes. Around 90 million American adults snore occasionally or regularly, and roughly 25 million or more adults suffer from sleep apnea, a form of sleep-disordered breathing for which loud snoring is often a symptom. That’s a whole lot of Americans who are not in control of our sleep!
Snoring can also have a ripple effect. Partners or spouses of snorers can’t control their sleep either. It might be tempting to think we’re in control of our sleep even when we snore, but science tells us otherwise.
How Snoring Impacts Your Quality Of Sleep
Snoring can cause frequent short awakenings throughout the night. Some of these sleep interruptions, called micro-arousals, are so brief we don’t even know they’re happening, but they are linked to higher risk for heart disease and metabolic disease. At least in part because of these more frequent awakenings, snoring changes the way we move through the five different stages of sleep, which run from light sleep to deep sleep and REM sleep.
REM sleep is also referred to as paradoxical sleep. That’s because, while your brain becomes aroused with mental activities, your voluntary muscles become immobilized. REM sleep begins approximately 90 minutes after falling asleep. During this time, this is what happens:
- Your brain lights up with activity
- Your body is relaxed and immobilized
- Your breathing is faster and irregular
- Your eyes move rapidly
- You dream
REM sleep is important for memory consolidation. With REM sleep, your brain's activity most closely resembles its activity during the hours you are awake; however, your body is temporarily in a state of paralysis, which is good, as it prevents you from acting out while you dream. A fun fact about REM sleep is that babies can spend up to 50% of their sleep in the REM stage, compared to only about 20% for adults.
When we snore, we’re likely to spend more time in the lighter stages of sleep, and less time in deep sleep. That’s part of the reason why a snoring habit leaves many people feeling tired and unrested after a night of sleep. Sleep apnea also causes these (and other) problems, usually to an even greater degree than snoring on its own. But increasingly, scientific studies are telling us that “simple snoring” is never really simple, and that snoring contributes to health problems, even when it isn’t associated with sleep apnea. For example, new research shows that snoring is linked to a higher risk for high blood pressure, apart from any influence of sleep apnea.
How To Reduce Snoring
Have you ever wondered, what keeps a person from snoring? There are a range of ways to address and reduce snoring problems, from making lifestyle changes to using different devices that help you breathe better during sleep.
How can you take back control of your sleep and stop snoring? Oral mouthpieces are a scientifically proven treatment to help you stop snoring. Consider trying the ZQuiet 2-Size Anti-Snoring Mouthpiece Starter Pack. It prevents snoring by stabilizing and advancing the jaw forward to maintain an open airway while you sleep. This reduces the vibrations that cause snoring and restore normal breathing. Sleep experts tell us they’re effective in helping snoring as well as in treating sleep apnea and are often an easier form of snoring and sleep apnea treatment for people to stick with than CPAP. That said, a mouthpiece is an adjustment as most of us are not used to wearing one at night, but if you stick with it, the results are life-changing.
People with sleep apnea, how do you escape snoring? CPAP is often prescribed as a treatment. CPAP is a long-standing, effective treatment for sleep apnea. It also has a long-standing issue with compliance. Research shows one of the toughest things about getting CPAP to work effectively is getting people to use the device consistently, night after night. Studies indicate many people stop using CPAP after a while—or never even start after they’re prescribed the device.
It can also have the below side effects:
- Dry, Stuffy Nose or Nosebleeds
- Skin Irritations
- Dry Mouth
You’ve probably heard that weight loss can make a big difference for snoring and sleep apnea. Sleep experts suggest that even a modest weight loss can make a difference for snoring. And weight loss can also improve sleep apnea (Many people who are overweight or obese have sleep apnea). Here are some tips for quality sleep while you’re trying to lose weight.
Keep a regular sleep schedule: Big changes in your sleep schedule or trying to catch up on sleep after a week of late nights can shift your metabolism and reduce insulin sensitivity, making it easier for your blood sugar to become elevated. Sleep in a dark room: Exposure to artificial light while sleeping, such as a TV or bedside lamp, is associated with an increased risk of weight gain and obesity. Don’t eat right before bed: Eating late in the night can reduce the success of weight loss attempts. Work to reduce stress: Chronic stress may lead to poor sleep and weight gain in several ways, including eating to cope with negative emotions.
Be an early bird: People with late bedtimes may consume more calories and be at a higher risk for weight gain. Early birds may be more likely to maintain weight loss when compared to night owls.